Founding Brothers Summaries Essay

Founding Brothers Summaries Essay.


The preface of Founding Brothers sets up the historical context and mood for the following chapters, putting an emphasis on the American Revolution, and its significance and inevitability. After the revolutions the astounding success and America’s liberation from Great Britain, no one was certain America could hold its own for long. It had not yet established an active government and was deemed likely by many to fall apart into individual states. However, the founding “fathers” were determined to have America survive as a successful nation, so they initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787 during which the American Constitution was created.

Chapter 1 the Duel

The first chapter of the novel pertains to the battle between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. One morning in the summer of 1804, the two conducted a duel near Weehawken, New Jersey following the code duello. It resulted in the death of Hamilton which consequently tainted Burr’s reputation. Hamilton was shot and killed by one of two shots that were fired.

In the aftermath, two stories were known amongst the public: the Hamilton version and the Burr version. The Hamilton version is that Burr was the first to fire and Hamilton impulsively fired into the air upon being shot.

The Burr version is that Hamilton fired first, deliberately missing, and after about four or five seconds, Burr fired that fatal shot that killed Hamilton, who instantaneously fell to the ground. Although this version was almost undoubtedly incorrect, it was somewhat of a consensus amongst the public. Ironically, the Burr version is more believable because it contains the break between the two shots upon which was both sides agreed, therefore making Hamilton’s reflexive shot highly implausible. The duel was the result of Hamilton offending Burr and then refusing to apologize.

Chapter 2 the Dinner

The chapter’s second chapter goes back to the 18th century, before the events of the preceding chapter. Ellis tells Thomas Jefferson’s account of a dinner he held at his home in mid-June of 1790. He invited Alexander Hamilton and James Madison to discuss the future location of the nation’s capital. This topic was supplemented by conversations regarding the economic crisis of the times. The dinner led to a compromise between Madison and Hamilton. Madison would not oppose Hamilton’s financial plan in exchange for Hamilton’s support of the capital’s future location to be along the Potomac River.

However, Ellis proposes that this compromise was not just the result of the single dinner but rather several discussions. George Washington decided that America’s capital would be established east of Georgetown and was named Washington D.C. after Washington himself. Having originally promised it would be in proximity of the Pennsylvania border, the central street was named Pennsylvania Avenue in order to appease disappointed Pennsylvanians.

Chapter 3 The Silence

The third chapter of the novel involves a prominent dispute that almost broke apart the young nation. This argument was a result of petitions presented to the House of Representatives a few months prior to Jefferson’s dinner by two Quaker delegations calling for the end of the African slave trade. Those in favor of maintaining slavery in the United States were mainly the southern states, especially Georgia, represented by James Jackson, and South Carolina, represented by William Loughton Smith.

They argued that Congress should ignore the petitions because the Constitution prohibited government action on the slave trade until 1808 anyway and that it was merely and attempt to achieve emancipation. They even took it so far as to threaten to succeed if the matter was not openly discussed. No one in the House took the initiative to refute the South’s allegations and this silence is what the chapter’s title refers to. In the end, there was no real national result. In order to end this dispute, James Madison passed a vote from the House to amend the Constitution so that Congress would have no authority to interfere with slavery.

Chapter 4 Farewell

This chapter focuses on George Washington’s farewell address and thus his formal declination to serve a third term as president. Despite having been partially written in collaboration with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington’s farewell address included his and only his hopes for the future of the United States. Amongst the points that he stressed were the need for national unity, the danger of partisanship and party politics, and the foreign policy of neutrality and diplomatic independence from the tumultuous events occurring in Europe at the time. Thanks to Washington, leaving office after two terms became customary for succeeding presidents, except for Franklin D. Roosevelt who served three full terms and died during his fourth. In 1951, the 22nd Amendment made it law that a president may only serve at most two terms. America was generally saddened by the retirement of such a great leader as George Washington, for he was seen by the population as a virtually god-like figure.

Chapter 5 The Collaborators

After the retirement of George Washington, the two leading candidates for the presidency were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both good friends and great competitors. However, Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Republican, and the two parties were becoming increasingly antagonistic towards each other. In 1796, John Adams was officially elected president and Jefferson vice-president. Since they were from different parties, they had different agendas for their time in office.

At dinner with Washington in 1797, Jefferson informed Adams that he was not interested in joining his cabinet and the Republican Party did not intend to partake in the peace delegation Adams was sending to France. From then on Adams never again addressed Jefferson’s inclusion in policy making decisions. In the 1800 election, the presidency was won by Jefferson with Aaron Burr as the vice-president. After the election, Adams and Jefferson did not speak to one another for 12 long years.

Chapter 6 Friendship

The book’s concluding chapter once again pertains to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. After 12 years of silence between the two they finally began to reestablish their friendship through letter correspondence initiated by Adams that would last until their deaths. They both put forth a noticeable effort to reconcile and their long-held respect for each other overcame the bitterness from their past disputes. The letter correspondence consisted of 158 letters ending in 1826 when both men died. On the fiftieth anniversary of American independence in 1826, both Jefferson and Adams died within approximately five hours of each other.

Founding Brothers Summaries Essay

Marbury v. Madison Essay

Marbury v. Madison Essay.

Marbury v. Madison was a very influential Supreme Court case in the history of the United States. Marbury v. Madison was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review. This happened under Article III in the Constitution. The court case helped to make a boundary between the executive and judicial branches of the American form of government. In the final days of his presidency, John Adams appointed a large number of justices of peace for the District of Columbia whose commissions were approved by the Senate, signed by the president, and had the official seal of the government on them.

William Marbury, who was the Justice of Peace, asked the Supreme Court to force James Madison, Secretary of State, to deliver the commissions.

The commissions were not delivered, however, and when President Jefferson assumed office, March 5, 1801, he ordered Madison not to deliver them. Marbury then asked the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus forcing Madison to show reason not to receive his commission.

It was through three questions asked by John Marshall that the case was resolved. First, did Marbury have a right to the writ for which he petitioned? Second, if he has a right and that right was violated, do the laws of the United States allow the courts to grant Marbury such a writ? And third, if they did, is it right to ask the Supreme Court to issue such a writ? (Nichols 1). The biggest Constitutional issue with Marbury v. Madison is that it validated Article III of the Constitution which granted the Supreme Court the highest level of judicial power in the United States, and outlined which types of cases were parts of the Court’s appellate jurisdiction, and which were parts of its original jurisdiction (Mountjoy 24).

There were six Justices for the case and these were Samuel Chase, William Cushing, John Marshall, William Paterson, and Bushrod Washington. John Marshall was the justice who wrote the majority opinion and his interpretation of Article III was that, as an independent branch of the federal government, part of the Court’s responsibility was judicial review, which allows the Supreme Court to analyze legislation and get rid of any laws they determined to be unconstitutional (Mountjoy 36).

The majority opinion, delivered by Marshall first explained that Marbury was entitled to his commission since it had been signed by the president, therefore it being withheld by the court was against his legal rights. This goes back to the second question, if he has a right, and that right has been violated then should the US grant Marbury a writ? It is the nation’s responsibility to provide civil liberty and denying Marbury his rights is the opposite of that so it was said that Marbury should be allowed to have a writ of mandamus. Marshall went on to say that it was the particular responsibility of the courts to protect the rights of individuals, even against the president of the United States.

It was in answering the third question, whether the Supreme Court should be allowed to issue the writ, the Marshall addressed judicial review. Marshall ruled that the court could not grant the writ to Marbury because Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional. This is because according to Article III, it applied to only cases “affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls” and to cases “in which the state shall be party.” (Brannen 476).

Marshall said that by extending the Court’s original jurisdiction to include cases like Marbury’s, Congress had exceeded its authority. And when an act of Congress is in conflict with the Constitution, it is the obligation of the Court to uphold the Constitution because it is the “supreme law of the land”(van Alstyne 29). In the end, Marbury was denied his commission, which pleased President Thomas Jefferson and Madison.

This case is such a significant case in US history as it established judicial review. By doing this it made the Judicial Branch equal with Congress, or the Legislative Branch, and the Executive Branch. Because of this case there have been many other court cases throughout history where the court has referred to Marbury v. Madison to establish its power.

As a result of Marshall’s decision Marbury was denied his commission — which presumably pleased President Jefferson. Jefferson was not pleased with the lecture given him by the Chief Justice, however, nor with Marshall’s affirmation of the Court’s power to review acts of Congress. For practical
strategic reasons, Marshall did not say that the Court was the only interpreter of the Constitution (though he hoped it would be) and he did not say how the Court would enforce its decisions if Congress or the Executive opposed them. But, by his timely assertion of judicial review, the Court began its ascent as an equal branch of government — an equal in power to the Congress and the president. Throughout its long history, when the Court needed to affirm its legitimacy, it has cited Marshall’s opinion in Marbury v. Madison.

Brannen, Daniel, and Richard Hanes and Rebecca Valentine. Supreme Court Drama. Farmington Hills: Gale, 2010. Print. Mountjoy, Shane. Marbury vs. Madison. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2007. Print. Nichols, Megan. “Marbury v. Madison and the Establishment of Judicial Review.” Marbury v. Madison and the Establishment of Judicial Review. Web. 05 Feb. 2013. Van Alstyne, William W. “A Critical Guide to Marbury v. Madison.” JSTOR. Duke University School of Law, Web. 06 Feb. 2013.

Marbury v. Madison Essay

Major Turning Points in U.S. History (1492-1820) Essay

Major Turning Points in U.S. History (1492-1820) Essay.

Throughout documented United States history, immense changes in social, political, and economic establishments have been brought about by perplexing people or conditions. Often, these changes mark a turning point in the progress of civilization as new ideas are formed, new governments raised, or new discoveries put to use in the interest of progress. Whether these pivotal moments in history may be triggered due to a single nonconforming individual or a vast, radical multitude, each turning point has explicit influences and outcomes which shaped America for years to follow.

Every important decision has two key dimensions. The first is the outcome in the immediate case, and the second is as a precedent for future development. When calculating the most substantial turning points of something as expansive as an entire country one must discern not merely the immediate effects, but the long-term consequences as well.

Throughout the duration of this essay I will briefly analyze what is perceived to be the most imperative turning points in American history politically, socially, culturally, and economically on, not simply an immediate premise, but also on an enduring scale.

One of the first major turning point events in early American history was the French and Indian war. The French and Indian war was fought between the French and its American Indian allies against the British colonial forces from the year 1756 to 1763 and is considered one of the bloodiest wars in American colonial history, and the bloodiest American war in the 18th century. It took more lives than the American Revolution and involved people on three continents. The war was the product of an imperial struggle, a clash between the French and English over colonial territory and wealth. The war was fought for 7 years across territory in North America and a major cause for this war was struggle for territorial expansion between French and English forces. It is also believed that the effects of the French Indian War are the ultimate cause of American Revolution.

Before and throughout the French and Indian War, from about 1650 to 1763, Britain essentially left its American colonies to run themselves in an age of neglect. The consequences of the war successfully ended French political and cultural influence in North America. England gained massive amounts of land and vastly strengthened its hold on the continent. The war, however, also had indirect results. It severely eroded the relationship between England and Native Americans; and, though the war seemed to strengthen England’s hold on the colonies, the effects of the French and Indian War played a key role in the deteriorating relationship between England and its colonies that ultimately led into the Revolutionary War. As you proceed onward with the history of our country you reach what is undisguisedly the most significant turning point in American history; the American Revolution. After the French and Indian War, the age of neglect was finished.

Britain, wanting to replenish its drained treasury, placed a more substantial tax burden on America and tightened regulations in the colonies. Over the years, Americans were forbidden to circulate local printed currencies, ordered to house British troops, made to comply with restrictive shipping policies, and forced to pay unpopular taxes. Furthermore, many of those failing to conform to the new rules found themselves facing a British judge with no jury. Americans were shocked and offended by what they viewed as violations of their liberties. Over time, this shock turned to anger, which ultimately grew into desire for rebellion. The Treaty of Paris was signed in Paris, France on September 3, 1783. This ended the American Revolutionary War, and gave the colonies their independence from Great Britain. The 13 states were now free to join together and become the United States of America. They could now formulate their own government and conceive their own laws. This freedom was the most substantial effect of the American Revolution. New ideas like those conveyed in the Declaration of Independence were finally allowed to spread and grow in the new country.

The British gave America all of the land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River, from Canada to the north and Florida to the south. If the revolution had not taken place, it is probable we would still be under British rule today. The newly formed United States of America would need to set up a new national government. The citizens of the new country did not want a government that would inflict high taxes like England did before the revolution. However the new government would be weak unless the states were willing to compromise. The Articles of Confederation specified that all thirteen states had to ratify any new constitution for it to take effect. To avoid this obstacle, the delegates included in the new Constitution a section outlining a new plan for ratification. Once nine of the thirteen states had ratified the document (at special conventions with elected representatives), the Constitution would replace the Articles in those nine states.

The delegates figured correctly that the remaining states would be unable to survive on their own and would have to ratify the new document as well. Politically, the creation of a new constitution, led to the establishment of a new centralized democratic government. Socially, more individuals and groups fought to secure rights for themselves, especially women, slaves, and religious groups. Economically, a method for fixing the national debt, along with a strong agrarian base, would help a slow, but steady improvement to American society. Political, social, and economic aspects of the overall American society were affected so dramatically as to create a new country that is so unlike any nation created before it. Benjamin Franklin jokingly made one of the best educated guesses and assumptions of all-time when he said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.

Neither death nor taxes have shown any sign of letting up, and the Constitution has shown plenty of longevity. Over 220 years after the ratification of the Constitution it stands almost untouched to rule and guide the citizens of the United States of America. Thousands of laws, actions, treaties, regulations, and judicial rulings have been made and decided on behalf of this document. This document not only protects and governs the lives of the people, but the businesses and foundations in which they work and own. As American Society continued to grow reaching residency in the millions another huge turning point event arose, the Louisiana Purchase. The purchase of Louisiana by the American President Thomas Jefferson was one of the greatest acquisitions America managed in history. It paved way for easy trade and doubled the total land space of the country.

The Louisiana territory encompassed all or part of 15 present U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The Americans managed to acquire this immense amount of land for merely $15 million dollars. Furthermore this colossal purchase directly led to what is identified as the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806), was the first transcontinental expedition to the Pacific coast undertaken by the United States. Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, it was led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. It is difficult to overstate the long-term ramifications of the Expedition. The most noticeable immediate effect was the rise in the northern plains fur trade between 1806 and 1812.

For Native Peoples, the aftermath of the Lewis and Clark was anything but a positive experience. Perhaps the most devastating was the outbreak of smallpox among the Mandan in 1837, an epidemic which all but destroyed the once-powerful group. To the Native Americans, it was the beginning of an end. Their lives were forever changed by their contact with the fur traders, soldiers, and missionaries that followed in result of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The changes were no less profound for the European Americans either. Lewis and Clark provided valuable information about the topography, the biological sciences, the ecology, and ethnic and linguistic studies of the American Indian. The mysteries of the vast area known as the Louisiana Purchase quickly disappeared after Lewis and Clark.

Major Turning Points in U.S. History (1492-1820) Essay

Jefferson Is a Hypocrite Essay

Jefferson Is a Hypocrite Essay.

He is best known for writing the declaration of independence. Nearly every elementary student in the nation knows his name. He was gifted in the fields of architecture, politics, law, and even science. For all of this to be possible, he must have been somewhat of an iconic figure, right? Right, but the fact that he was a hypocrite cannot be overlooked. Jefferson wrote about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, and claimed that “all men are created equal”, but held many slaves himself… (Declaration of Independence).

History has informed us that the bodies of men as well as individuals are susceptible to the spirit of tyranny. ” Throughout the text, Jefferson repeatedly equates Britain’s treatment of the colonies to a master’s arbitrary oppression of slaves. Based on these strong statements, it seems that Jefferson would be staunch advocate of the physical and intellectual freedom of every person, regardless of creed, race, or religion.   In reality, however, it is widely known that Jefferson did own slaves, and thus contradicted himself, again adding more evidence to the hypocrite argument.

In Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Slavery, he explains how blacks are equal to whites “by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination”, but this is where the quality ends.

Another hypocritical event during Jefferson’s’ administration was his acceptance of the National Bank. Early in Jefferson’s political career, Jefferson had debated with Hamilton on whether to have the National Bank. When this government was first established, it was possible to have kept it going on true principles, but the contracted, English, half-lettured ideas of Hamilton destroyed that hope in the bud, We can pay off his debts in 15 years. ” Early in Jefferson’s Administration, Jefferson had denounced the National Bank. At the end of his administration, Jefferson realized that the National Bank was important and this is hypocritical by disregarding his principles.

Jefferson Is a Hypocrite Essay